Thursday, September 30, 2010

TI♥T: The Simple Things

  • bison sirloin steak, rare, grilled in oil and spices (local, hormone free, delicious)
  • leaving the TV and computer turned off
  • garlic roasted sweet & new potatos
  • warm hands
  • wide-ranging conversations about everything and nothing
  • soft silences
  • clean cotton sheets
  • going to bed early
  • you

Monday, September 27, 2010


I heard this song recently on my online radio station. It spoke to me, but at the time I didn't know why, really. And now, here it is is. And here am I, with nothing left to do but Stand. No, things are not as bad as all that, and I'm definitely not all alone. But I've done all I can. And here I Stand.


Tell me, what do you do
When you've done all you can do
And if seems like it's never enough

Tell me what do you say
When your friends turn away
And you're all alone, so alone

Tell me, what do you give
When you've given your all and
Seems like you can't make it through

Well, you just stand
When there's nothing left to do

You just stand
Watch the Lord see you through

Yes, after you've done all you can
You just stand

Tell me, how do you handle
The guilt of your past
Tell me, how do you deal with the shame
Tell me how can you smile
When your heart has been broken and filled with pain

And don't you dare give up
You go through the storm, (stand)
And through the rain, (stand)
You stand through the hurt, (stand)
And through the pain, (you just)

Hold on (stand)
And don't give up
Hold on (stand)
And don't you dare give in (you just)

Said you just stand (you just)
After you've done all you can
After you've prayed and cried, cried and prayed
All through the night

After you plant your feet
Squared your shoulders
Hold your head up, and wait on Him
He's gonna come through, yes He will

After you've done all you can
You just stand

(Sorry - the only video I can find is from *gag* Oprah and has sketchy audio, but you can listen/view here).

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Waving Back

Sometimes I get so focused on surviving the here and now and creating for the future that it doesn't occur to me to stop and reflect. And then, at times - like now when my parents have just returned from the north - the past gives me a friendly wave. A simple "hi, remember me?"

I do remember. And I realise that I miss the restless chatter of poplars with their lively leaves and linen skin. I miss the green freshness of the mountain air. I miss hillsides that glide from a palette of green to a palette of gold. I miss floating down pebble-bottomed rivers the temperature of numbness. I miss night skies made of sequined satin. I miss tree forts and garden peas and rhubarb dipped in sugar. I miss living next door to Shiney Shan, in our identical company houses, with our identical dolls, and our identical names. I miss the roadside entertainment of a swamp-snacking moose, mosses and grasses and water running from its antlers. I miss watching a copper-coloured playmate chase rocks and sticks and field mice.

I joke a lot about having escaped the stifling constrictions of small town life.  I freely share my glee at flowers in February and the nearly year-round frost-freeness of my current home. And, in so doing, I also often negate how idyllic my rural childhood was.

This was my happy life for my first 17 years. I left as soon as I could, and resisted the short sojourns back. And yet, that northern farm girl with the red-rimmed gumboots and dirt-black tree pitch on her hands still roams inside the manicured woman in patent pumps that I've become. And for that I am truly, though forgetfully, grateful.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

When You're Right You're Right.

I had a surprise house guest this week - someone who for 12 years has known, loved, cajoled, supported, and calmed me. I don't really even have a 'category' for who he is - family of choice is the best I can think of.

Anyway, among other encouraging, wonderful things Glassboat had to say, "I swear I've never seen you this small!" was the most repeated. I argued with him of course. I know I've lost weight. I'm doing quite well at it, without really feeling like it's a big effort or like I've ever been deprived of what I want. I'm feeling better about things corporeal. But, I also know that I've weighed less, that my stomach has been firmer, and - my piece de resistance - that the Calvin Klein jeans with the button fly in my closet, the ones I bought in triumph in 1999 when I was at my goal weight, the ones that have moved with me 4 times in hopes that someday they could be re-worn, aren't even close to fitting me.

The last time he said "You really are smaller than ever." I said, I can't be, there's no way those skinny jeans fit and I wore them constantly in Prince George. I can tell just looking at them they dont' fit. He just said, "I bet they do." And we dropped it.  

So this morning I tried them on - now that he's gone and I can be right in private. I thought, what's the worst that can happen? I already KNOW they don't fit, so I can't really be that disappointed. And, maybe they are closer to fitting than I think. 

I dug them out from the 'seasonal' stack, where they rest beneath a couple hoodies I've inherited from my BBs and a pair of apres-ski fleece pants I have in case I ever ski again. They are lighter coloured than I thought. With a definite 1999 waistline and unshapely straight legs. I'd also forgotten that somewhere along the way I'd worn out a knee and patched it with black fleece. Yowsa - I think I even taught in these! They are definitely not wearable, even if they did fit. And, unlike every piece of denim I've bought in the past 5 years, they have no stretch. Not even a smidge of give.

But still, there's no harm in trying, right? And, I have the great motivation of proving Glassboat wrong (because doesn't everyone want their compliments discredited?). One leg in, and they felt okay. A woman can actually tell one leg in if it's worth keeping going or not with jeans. A second leg, past the formerly troublesome thighs. Still going. Oh my gosh, the button fly was always so hard before. But ugg that high waist is snug and unforgiving (and horribly unflattering! Hello, soccer mom! BLECH!)

Yep. They fit. They do not flatter, but they fit. In fact, they are loose! in the butt and thighs. Much less so in the waist, though there's no unsightly pulling at the button fly. But I could definitely sit and stand and walk and 'wear' them (with the appropriate tummy hiding top).

Often in life it's hard to be wrong. This time I couldn't be happier. :) I'm sure that when I tell Glassboat he'll be happy to repay me with a grinning 'told ya so.'

Thursday, September 23, 2010

TI♥T: The Gentle Art of Loving

I remember the first time I saw her. She was the only one in the crowded space who sat quietly, pressing against the door, staring up at me, pleading with her eyes for me to love and rescue her.

I took her out into the yard and she pressed her body against me. Her tail had a kink in it, one of many physical and mental reminders that someone had taught her that life was dangerous. And, being a rescue myself, having recently been rescued by someone who looked in my eyes and saw me, my heart saw a kindred spirit and took her home.

I can see now that others would not have had that response. That the pleading eyes might be too much of a demand. By her. Or by me.

She wasn't the only one to rescue me. Or the only one I rescued. For a while we were part of a tripod of mutual support. Even now, when the two of us who survive are together, she is missed. Although it's been several years since she lived with me, I sometimes wish she was curled up beside me on my bed. Pretending she'd stay at the foot, and eventually pushing me to the edge.

We knew she wouldn't be with us forever. And while she was, she taught us both a lot about loving, accepting, being loved, being accepted, the strength of needing someone, the power of filling a need.

Even now, the threads of loving and accepting and support she was so essential a part of remain unbroken. She was a gift - she gave herself to us and gently taught us how to love.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tears and Fears and Feeling Proud ...

to say "I Love You" right out loud. YIKES!
Joni Mitchell's 'Both Sides Now' has haunted me since ... well, I'm not sure since when, but for a very long time. Maybe because I was a girl who built castles in the clouds? It's pretty and melodic and lyrical and imaginative and girly. It's a me song.  I love the build up of the verses from illusion to love to life. And then the kicker - "I really don't know love/life at all." It sounds so unmenacing in a high sweet voice. But it stings.

(NB: I wasn't going to post about this as I've been getting some feedback about my blog being too personal. Only, this is my personal blog. My only intention is to share with whoever cares to read it what I'm learning. And to provide myself with a public venue for writing. So ... I'm going to go on being personal. And people who are uncomfortable about that can cover their eyes in the private parts. XO)

I'm starting a new seminar tonight. I wasn't going to. I really need a rest, evenings off, time to learn and grow in new ways. Time to take care of myself. But then I read the seminar description (not to mention the hoardes of friends who insisted this is the PERFECT seminar for me - gee thanks, peeps):
The Basics of Love, Romance and Partnership: you will step beyond what you can strategize or figure out. You will discover being related independent of your past, your expectations, your preferences, or your views ... personality or circumstance ... 
Okay. I give up. Maybe this is the seminar for me. As much as I like strategizing and figuring out, my preference, views and expectations haven't really served me all that well so far. And even my winning personality apparently has its weaknesses. I told my Funk Soul Brother that I'd registered grudgingly and was now freaking out, and his lovingly big-brothery response was
what is the payoff for being "scared" of this seminar? Getting to be alone maybe? ... Are you scared that you may actually get something from the seminar? A new relationship perhaps? Improved relationships maybe?
The problem with hanging out with people who believe in you is they are SO hard to convince of your pathetic neediness and the hopelessness of your situation! HA! And really, what's the point of designating a big brother later in life if he can't be big brotherly with you?

So, I'm off to my seminar. What I'd really like is to curl up with a book and a good stiff drink and forget I ever said yes. But this is a chance to really and truly (maybe) discover something else is available in my relationships - romantic or otherwise - than being scared and insecure and constantly on the verge of loneliness. And that's worth a few Monday evenings, isn't it?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

TI♥T: Being a Weeble

Lots to be grateful for today, and lots of things that I love, most of all ... being surprised by myself. I'm many things, not least of which is resilient. I will totally admit that I get frustrated, discouraged, and annoyed when the best laid plans fall to naught, but I really don't ever stay down for long.

BB2 recently said about a particular situation, "you're a fighter. If anyone can beat this it's you ... when you set your mind to something nothing stops you." I was slightly shocked. I definitely don't think of myself as a fighter, but the boy is more insightful than the average bear, so I thought about it a little more. And while 'Fighter' isn't the term I'd use, I can see why my military manchild might. 

When something really matters to me - like, really matters - nothing will stop me. Not considerations of time or money. Not people who think they know better. Not that nagging little voice that thinks I'm just a chubby small town single mom who doesn't have any say in life. Nothing. When BB2 needed help he got it. When I committed to my MA, I finished it. Whatever it takes. And if someone threatens my boys, boy you better look out.

The pacifist in me doesn't like to look too closely at that side, but there's another part of me that feels really proud. First, that I have that strength to call on when I need it. And second, that my BBs know I have that strength to call on when they need it too.

Which brings me back to the title of this post. For those of you too young to remember ...

I'm a Weeble. Being a Weeble is awesome. I bet you're a Weeble too.

PS - I also love unexpected encouraging phone calls in the middle of the day ... just thought that was worth mentioning. XO

Thursday, September 9, 2010

TI♥T: Recap

Miss Lady just left me after a lovely fun visit, and admonished me on her way out the door that I have lots of time yet to post my TI♥T post. Which I was already aware of, but was once again fresh out of ideas, and also slightly concerned that what few ideas I do have I might have already TI♥T'ed. So I did a little review.

I started writing TI♥T posts on January 7, which was 35 weeks ago. In that time I have posted 29 (30 with this entry) posts on the 'Things I Love' theme. And while the original concept was to remind myself at least once a week to blog, and to remind myself at least once a week to express gratitude by sharing what lights me up, it's actually been a pretty wide ranging concept.

There've been weeks, like August 19, when I couldn't see much of what there was in my life to love, so I posted about my dear friend DivaMo. And there have been weeks like May 13 when the abstract, stream-of-consciousness writer peeked out for a few lines and let you see inside how my mind works and keeps me going. There's been sadness and silliness, and frustration, and surprises.

And what I see, as I look back over 9 months of Things I Love, is that I have a really great life. It's rich and varied and fun and challenging. And it's all mine. It's not all sunshine and roses, but what on earth would I blog about if it were? :)

So here's your post, Miss Lady. Thanks for always reminding me how much there is to be grateful for - you know that high on that list, both of what I love and of what I'm grateful for, is you. XO

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My Sister's Keeper: Review

I started reading Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper with some hesitation. Okay, it wasn't hesitation  - it was snobbery. A book that was made into a movie that stars Cameron Diaz can't really be that great, can it? Not to mention the cheesy paperback cover (Momsy lent me the movie-pushing edition). And, Jodi Picoult has churned out 16 novels, so surely her writing must be trite and formulaic (first person to mention how many novels Dickens wrote is getting smacked in the head). However, I needed something to read, it was sitting here on my shelf, and what I knew about the story concept was interesting. By this past Sunday night, when I finished the book at 4 am having read for 6 straight hours, I was very very happy to be wrong - about so very much of that.

View on Amazon
The story concept was not just interesting - it was compelling. As a mom of two I've had more than a few discussions about favourites, and fairness, and equal treatment and equal time. And that - for any parent - is an impossibility. Somedays one child's needs take precedence. The next day the other son has a crisis. It's not a matter of love - it's a matter of emergency preparedness. It's a universal law of parenting that sometimes our love looks like something else.

Picoult's novel about a younger sister who was conceived, born, and raised in the inescapable shadow of her sister's battle with leukemia was at once horrifying, 'thank God that's not me' and painfully familiar. I have wondered on many a sleepless night if I neglected one BB while dealing with the crises of the other. I wonder - like the parents in the novel - what conversations I shut down, what questions I avoided asking or answering to focus on the issue at hand. And what dragons were growing while I was chasing spiders. The tension of the story wrapped around me, and smelled of teen depression and learning disorders, and misunderstanding and thwarted intentions.

Picoult achieves something astounding though - her writing is as gripping as the story. Her scenes are crisp, and her dialogue as mysteriously murky as only family conversations can be. It's the kind of haunting writing that makes me envious. The kind of writing that you want to write on your walls. It is wise and beautiful without ever being precious:
I unlaced Julia Romano's combat boots. I peeled away her camoflauge jacket. Her feet were narrow and as pink as the inside of a tulip. Her collarbone was a mystery.
It's raining. The kind of rain that comes down so heavy it sounds like the shower's running even when you've turned it off. The kind of rain that makes you think of dams and flash floods, arks. The kind of rain that tells you to crawl back into bed, where the sheets haven't lost your body heat, to pretend that the clock is five minutes earlier than it really is.
My only complaints about the book are the handling of the 'troubled-son' Jesse. It's cliche and over-simplified in a way that no 'troubled-son' ever is. As ridiculously resolved as it is drawn in caricature. The father is similarly uncomplicated and predictable. Next to the richly drawn females, the male characters are a disappointment.

But not nearly enough of a disappointment to prevent me from looking forward to picking up another Picoult. Or to keep me from missing Anna and Kate in the 2 days since I finished reading.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The B Word

I just had a bit of an epiphany. And, like so very very many of my epiphanies, this may occur to the rest of you like 'she's only figuring that out now?' None the less, here it is:

I can't be anyone but myself (more on that in a minute) - if that doesn't work for you, you should spend your time with someone else.
I have been twisted up in knots all week trying to figure out what I'd need to be less of, and more of, who to emulate and who to expunge to be happy, loved, cherished, honoured and wanted. It's been pretty tiring - both for myself and for the people around me. And, these knots being of the Gordian variety, it's been an insolvable riddle.

And then I read something just now cleaning up my bedroom that untangled the whole mystery. What I read said "Remember, when you get right down to it, there is no real you." In this usage, real means essential, unchangeable, universal. Which, unlike so many existential quandries, is good news, because it means I get to say. And, this is what I say...

I am a bold, beautiful blonde bombshell.

That may not always be easy for people to take. But I love being front and centre. I love making an entrance and shaking things up a bit. I love that I have a sharp mind and a quick wit. I love being creative and adventurous. And I love playing up my bombshell assets. It's no accident that one of my two favourite outfits is my corseted ballgown, or that I have more than once been Mae West for Halloween. I can be a bit of a bodacious broad.

And, even all of that is not always true - I can also be bookish, or balanced, or a b*tch. Or I can be breezy or brazen or a total basket-case and sometimes even bashful.

The thing is, you don't get to choose, because one B word I am not is a buffet. You don't get to just pick the parts of me you like and forego the other bits. This babe is Prix Fixe. No substitutions (though if there's something you're REALLY allergic to, the chef might be able to work something out if you let us know ;-)  - you get to choose me as I am and accept what you choose.

And, at long last, I get to choose me as I am. And, that is a huge relief.

And, while we're at it, kudos to The Catch who had the wisdom to tell me this week (not that this is the first time I've heard this) 'it's pretty hard to cherish someone who doesn't cherish herself.' And to DivaMoe, and ShellBot, and SC2 (and extra thinks for 'bodacious!), and Miss Lady for their corporate wisdom and unflagging patience.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

TI♥T: Hope

Today is not the day for a Things I Love post. But someday soon will be.

That's not even a Hope. That's a promise.

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